For decades, 3D printing was a useful – sometimes necessary – means to create prototypes. Yet when it came to production, manufacturers turned to the conventional technology of machining, casting, and injection molding. As 3D printing companies improved their processes and materials, the idea of using the additive process for manufacturing began to rear its head.
For years, the promise seemed out of reach. Additive manufacturing (AM) may be a good solution for spare parts, but the notion of using it for production seemed a false dream. That changed as AM production parts began to match the strength and integrity of conventional manufacturing and the cost of individual parts came down.
In the spring of 2020, AM exploded as the world turned to AM for medical products. AM came to the rescue, making everything from PPE to ventilators – and more. Here’s a collection of AM products that are being produced successfully for aerospace, medical, and industrial uses.
Rob Spiegel has covered manufacturing for 19 years, 17 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include automation, supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cybersecurity. For 10 years, he was the owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.